Natural Home Remedies for Sinus Infections
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 10% of the population suffers from sinus infections (sinusitis). This means that more than 750,000 of our north Texas neighbors in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Plano understand the daily struggle of sinusitis. The accompanying symptoms of sinus infections reduce quality of life, negatively impact performance at work/school, and interfere with interpersonal relationships. If you are one of the 750,000 in our community who struggle with sinusitis, then you have likely experienced some of the following:
- Frequent and long-lasting sinus infections
- Nasal congestion and difficulty breathing through your nose
- Interrupted sleep due to congestion or snoring
- Headaches and facial pain
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Post-nasal drip
- Cough that gets worse at night
- Hoarse throat and/or soreness
- Halitosis (bad breath)
The difficulties of these symptoms can drive sinus sufferers to desperately search for solutions, often with little success. Temporary relief may be found in over-the-counter (OTC) medication, but unwanted side-effects and inconsistent results make this a less-than-ideal solution for long-term care. Some of the side effects of OTC sinus medications may include:
- Tiredness due to daytime drowsiness and nighttime insomnia
- Cardiac risk from increased blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythm
- Difficulty walking or driving due to dizziness or imbalance
- Interrupted eating patterns resulting from nausea
- Individual medical complications based on personal medical history
The good news is that you do have options to treat sinusitis and relieve symptoms that do not involve medication. There are natural home remedies for sinus infections which are safe, effective, and do not carry the risks and side effects that come with pharmaceutical therapies.
Treating a Sinus Infection Naturally
Most sinus infection treatments ultimately seek to relieve inflammation around the sinus cavities. This inflammation is most often caused by a virus or bacteria and results in a blockage that prevents mucus from naturally draining out of the sinus cavities. This inflammation results in painful symptoms and the blocked mucus may lead to additional infection.
OTC medications and invasive surgical procedures seek to open the sinus cavity and nasal passages so that mucus can drain; however, the following methods seek the same result without the risk or side-effects of medication or invasive surgery.
All-Natural Water: Liquid, Vapor, and Humidity
When it comes to dissolving solids and breaking up blockages, all-natural water is one of the most powerful tools on the planet. Water can be introduced into the sinuses and blocked nasal passages in three primary ways: steam, cool mist (humidity), liquid (sinus rinse). Each of these methods provide a natural solution to reduce nasal congestion, relieve sinus headaches, and other related symptoms.
Water vapor (steam) is created when water is heated. Steam is one of the most effective decongestants, because the heated vapor can easily break through a blocked nasal passage and provides quick relief. As the steam travels through the nasal passage, it thins mucus and allows it to flow out as intended. Once the nose is cleared, the sinuses can begin to drain. In addition, steam can soothe inflamed sinuses and reduce pain surrounding the sinuses.
The benefits of steam can be accomplished through several simple and inexpensive solutions:
- Steam Bowl: Place your face a safe distance above a bowl of warm water and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam. Take slow and deep breaths through the nose to help break up blockages. It is important to take all precautions when working with heated water. Never place your face above boiling water or water that is on a heated stove. Be very careful when transporting hot liquids as water and steam can both cause serious burns.
- Vaporizer (Steam Machine): Much like a steam bowl, a vaporizer is an effective tool that heats water and produces steam. These machines are inexpensive and may be a safer alternative to transporting pots of boiling water. They can be placed anywhere in a room for convenient treatment and symptom relief.
Cool Mist (Humidifiers)
Most humidifiers use a cold-water process to increase moisture in the air. The cool mist that is created will work in much the same way as a vaporizer. Cool mist humidifiers may provide a slight increase in safety as they do not contain hot liquid, this is especially true when placing the device around children.
Sinus Rinse (Neti Pot)
A sinus rinse is a treatment that involves mixing water with a blend of various forms of sodium (salt) and other natural ingredients. This saline solution can then be delivered to sinus cavities by pouring, pumping, or spraying directly through the nose. There are a number of sinus rinses on the market, but no matter which product or delivery method you choose, be sure to carefully follow the instructions. Some sinus rinses come premixed and ready to use while others come in packages that must be mixed with water at home. Special attention should be given to ensure that only distilled or sterile water is used for these mixtures. Tap water, bottled water, spring water, and filtered water may contain trace amounts of bacteria or organic matter that could result in additional sinus complications.
Natural Symptom Relief
In addition to treating the underlying sinus infection, there are many natural home remedies for nasal congestion, sinus headache, and other sinus symptoms. These methods are not a treatment for sinusitis but may increase the quality of life through symptom reduction.
- Water Intake: More than half of your body is made up of water and sufficient hydration is required for normal bodily functions.
- Sleep Posture: Gravity is a natural way to promote drainage and sleeping with your head elevated may result in less nighttime congestion, better sleep, and increased sinus drainage through the nasal passage.
- Warm and Cold Compress: Alternating cool and warm compresses placed on the face around the sinus cavities can reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, and reduce headaches and other symptoms. Be careful to never place hot or cold packs on the face and avoid using compresses for more than 20 minutes at a time to protect your skin.
Natural Remedies Get Results
Natural home remedies for sinus infections provide real relief to sinusitis sufferers while avoiding many of the difficult side effects that result from over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Some patients discover that despite the regular and effective use of natural remedies, they still suffer from chronic sinusitis. For these patients, it is important to consult a medical provider in order to rule out more severe conditions and ensure that the sinus infection is not creating or complicating other medical conditions.
For those who suffer chronic or intense sinus infections, there is a safe and minimally invasive solution that can provide lasting results and can be done in the comfort of the doctor’s office.
Balloon sinuplasty is a simple and effective procedure that dilates the sinus cavity to release blockages and allow the body to drain and heal naturally.
If you are struggling with frequent or intense sinusitis, schedule an appointment today to discover more about balloon sinuplasty and get back to the life that you deserve!